There is a demand from developing member countries (DMCs) for (i) building knowledge and capacity in new and emerging areas, (ii) supporting quick adoption of new technologies
being developed and tried across the region and the globe, and (iii) facilitating knowledge sharing in the region. While some middle-income countries have managed to create pockets of capacity in new and emerging areas including science and technology the vast majority of the Asian Development Bank's (ADB's) DMCs have severe capacity deficits in these areas. Even middle-income countries face a wide knowledge gap in some new and emerging technologies that are highly relevant to their future development. Further, regional knowledge exchange is currently not very effective and scattered around the region. The proposed technical assistance (TA) will help build capacity on identified new and emerging development topics in DMCs,2 thus enhancing the skills and expertise in DMCs and strengthening knowledge sharing in these areas. This TA responds to DMCs' demands and ADB's operational needs.
Modern economies are characterized by a complex interplay of competition and collaboration between economic actors. The contribution of competition to economic efficiency
and productivity is intuitively easier to grasp. But some key determinants of growth in modern economies involve the acquisition of new and emerging technologies. This requires generation and adoption of scientific knowledge and new technologies, the pursuit of innovation, and the development of the necessary human resources. This also requires extensive collaboration and networking with relevant parties across the region and the world. Recent analyses, including the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Growth Study: Some Implications for Statistics3 and the United Nations World Investment Review4, have identified these as powerful factors that drive economic growth. These data show a strong correlation between the percentage of gross domestic product (GDP) spent on research and development and GDP per capita underscoring the increasing importance of new knowledge and technology for development. There is wide understanding that the Asia-Pacific region needs to become innovative and technologically more advanced if it is to continue the high growth rates seen over the last few decades. The Asian Development Outlook 20035 identified knowledge as the most important resource in maintaining the Asia and Pacific region's competitiveness, given the rapid rate of change created by globalization and technological innovation.
In light of the above, ADB must assume a more proactive role as catalyst6 of applied knowledge in the region, which is critical for the future development of its DMCs. While new
knowledge and technologies are being developed successfully in different countries and regions, a key challenge facing DMCs is to capture and translate this international knowledge into locally useful knowledge. There is a need to develop knowledge hubs in the region to make available and disseminate identified new basic and applied knowledge of relevance to DMCs. These knowledge hubs should capture (and participate in creating) knowledge generated elsewhere nationally or internationally and develop these further to meet specific local needs. Further, these knowledge hubs should become key reservoirs of relevant expertise and serve as main agents of dissemination of such knowledge in DMCs and the region.
These knowledge hubs should aim to mainstream new concepts in innovation, science, technology, management development, and related fields for the region. They should also
promote improved exchange of data, information, and knowledge; and increase the capabilities of institutions and organizations in the region. Initiatives have created a wealth of knowledge base and expertise throughout the region. However, the capabilities of regional organizations and institutes in disseminating and sharing their findings are limited. Information is not enriched through regional cooperation, and information and expertise bases largely remain scattered around the region and fail to provide the multiplier effect that could be achieved if it were nurtured with more support for regional knowledge exchange. As the knowledge hub will focus on new development topics, experience and lessons learned from ADB knowledge sharing initiatives such as the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) center of excellence will be applied in the establishment of the knowledge hubs.